Tag Archives: Al Sapienza

Capone (2020) Review

capone_bron[1]

Capone

Time: 116 Minutes
Cast:
Tom Hardy as Fonse
Linda Cardellini as Mae
Matt Dillon as Johnny
Al Sapienza as Ralphie
Kathrine Narducci as Rosie
Noel Fisher as Junior
Director: Josh Trank

The 47-year old Al Capone (Tom Hardy), after 10 years in prison, starts suffering from dementia and comes to be haunted by his violent past.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I was curious about Capone, it had been announced and made a while ago, and finally we get to see what it is. Fonzo (retitled to Capone for commercial purposes)) would be director Josh Trank’s next movie after Fant4stic, a movie that was infamously known for having a lot of studio interference. Trank had a lot to prove after that, and decided to set his sights on a movie about Al Capone in his last year of his life. With him having made like 1.5 movies, I was expecting something more conventional, but it turned out to be something quite different. The response to the movie has been rather mixed, but I’m glad to be on the side of people who liked it.

NINTCHDBPICT000582473046-e1589292052451[1]

There’s a lot of things that you need to know before watching Capone. First of all, despite the title, don’t expect a full on Al Capone movie. I heard that Josh Trank had issues with renaming Fonzo to Capone, and watching the movie I can see why. Along with the lead character generally being referred to as “Fonze” or “Fonzo” over the course of the movie, with the new title, it really gave the impression that this would be at the very least a straightforward biopic. It’s a biopic in the loosest sense of the word, as I said earlier it is about Capone’s last year of his life as he is suffering from dementia and syphilis, and that’s pretty much all that happens in that movie. There’s a subplot whereby Al Capone hid some money and forgot where it was, and another where the FBI is surveying him because the suspect that he might be faking his illness, but those are only small parts of the plot. For a movie that’s seemingly intended on being more psychological than a full on biopic, those aspects feels tact on, however I know that it was needed as that probably what happened in real life. Probably my biggest disappointment of the movie is that while it does have some unusual stuff, it does feel like it is consciously partly a biopic, and does at times seem to be going through the motions to meet that. Those previously mentioned subplots feel obligatory, as it’s pretty clear that Trank is a lot more interested in other aspects. Capone suffers from hallucinations, and storywise that interested me the most in the movie. There is a specific section around halfway through that was the highlight, as Capone goes through an extended nightmare/dream sequence that is something straight out of a haunted house movie like The Shining or something.

Capone-Review-Tom-Hardy[1]

Another thing that is worth noting is that it is a slow movie and not a lot happens, although I was still on board throughout (that first act does drag quite a bit however). It’s not particularly pleasant to watch either, the very few scenes of violence that are there are brutal, and you are basically watching the main character succumb to dementia further over the course of the film. So for those hoping for a straightforward biopic of Al Capone, there are no doubt other representations of him on the big screen that might better suit what you’re looking for. If you want to know more about him this certainly isn’t the movie for you. Now the question is what the point of the movie is. If it’s to watch a man who has done horrible things being haunted with such things while suffering from illnesses, then Trank succeeded in that, but otherwise I’m not really sure. What kept me on board for the whole thing was the directions that he decided to take the movie. If it was meant to be a character piece or something, I feel like it was missing something. We see him declining, and we see some visions of what happened while he was in his prime, but we don’t really learn anything about him at the same time. Nonetheless it was interesting to watch.

capone[1]

The acting is generally quite good. The supporting cast is good with Jack Lowden, Noel Fisher and Kyle MacLachlan doing well in their smaller roles. Linda Cardellini and Matt Dillon were the standouts among the supporting cast. Dillon makes the most of his screentime as an associate of Capone, and Cardellini provides the closest thing to an emotional centre of the movie as Capone’s wife, which was needed considering who the protagonist of the whole movie is. However it is absolutely the Tom Hardy show, and he gives his most insane and crazy performance of his entire career as the title character, and that’s saying a lot considering he was in Bronson and Venom, I can certainly say it’s the most acting he’s done in a single performance. Before watching the movie, there was a couple of clips I saw before the movie that certainly gave me pause, he was unintentionally hilarious in them, and he’s kind of like that throughout much of the film. It works better when you watch the movie in its entirety. However it still takes you a while to settle in, especially with the makeup making him look like a demonic vampire and his voice sounding like a mix of Donald Duck, Nick Nolte, and Danny Devito’s The Penguin. Some of his outbursts still were unintentionally funny, but it worked better in the weird tone of the movie. Overall while I can say that I liked his performance, his over the top ‘acting’ moments didn’t work quite as well as the comparatively ‘quieter’ moments for me. He is definitely putting everything into this performance (for better and for worse) and was one of the stand out parts of the film.

DSCF4989.RAF

I already knew this from his work on Chronicle, but Josh Trank has shown himself to be a capable director. It’s shot and filmed well generally, but for the most part the technical side is just competent and nothing special. Interestingly, the editing is done by Trank of all people, no doubt wanting to ensure that he wouldn’t be caught in another Fant4stic situation. With that said, it is a little disjointed, and while I get that part of it was purposeful with this being from the perspective of a man slowly losing sense of everything, I’m not sure that was necessarily intentional all the way through. Where the film shines is when it leant into the weirdness, mainly with the hallucinations and dream sequences. The aforementioned dream scene halfway into the movie was a shining aspect, and had Trank committed to more of those sorts of scenes, I think that it could’ve been better.

nheubxKhP4agZoaYozJreqSrKMQ[1]

Capone won’t work for all people, in fact it won’t work for most people. There are aspects that are unpolished and messy, it might be too gross and gnarly for some people, and I don’t think it quite sticks the landing in what Josh Trank intended. However, despite its flaws I think the movie is decent. The acting is good, with the performance from Tom Hardy being a highlight, and I liked the places that it was taken. As weird as the movie got at points, I kind of wish it went further, as those were definitely the best parts of the movie. What this shows is that Trank has a talent and a vision, and Chronicle wasn’t a fluke. I’d love to see what he does next, especially if he’s not tied down with adapting anything this time.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) Review

Time: 107 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Xander Cage/xXx
Donnie Yen as Xiang/xXx
Deepika Padukone as Serena Unger
Kris Wu as Harvard “Nicks” Zhou
Ruby Rose as Adele Wolff
Tony Jaa as Talon
Nina Dobrev as Rebecca “Becky” Clearidge
Samuel L. Jackson as NSA Agent Augustus Eugene Gibbons
Toni Collette as CIA Agent Jane Marke
Nicky Jam as Lazarus
Rory McCann as Tennyson “The Torch”
Al Sapienza as CIA Director Anderson
Michael Bisping as Hawk
Ariadna Gutiérrez as Gina Roff
Hermione Corfield as Ainsley
Director: D.J. Caruso

After coming out of self-imposed exile, daredevil operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) must race against time to recover a sinister weapon known as Pandora’s Box, a device that controls every military satellite in the world. Recruiting a new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of government.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

For some reason I watched the previous xXx movies in preparation for this ‘movie’. The first xXx with Vin Diesel was over the top stupid fun action and I enjoyed it as a guilty pleasure. The second xXx didn’t live up to the previous movie, it just wasn’t as fun, it had an even less charismatic lead with Ice Cube and was mediocre overall. Not even Willem Dafoe could save it. Now the ‘prestigious’ and ‘critically acclaimed’ xXx franchise has a third instalment, with Vin Diesel returning. One wonders why this movie even happened, the last instalment was 12 years ago and none of the movies were that big of hits. After watching this I still don’t understand why this movie got made. It is definitely more entertaining than the previous instalment, but with it feeling so self important and obnoxious at times, it took away from the enjoyment of the movie. I can’t deny that I had an entertaining time watching it for what it is.

There’s nothing to say about plot and character, the plot is some generic action movie plot, the characters are cliché, 2 dimensional and don’t have anything to them and the dialogue is horrendous. However you probably already knew that. The question is, is this movie stupidly fun and entertaining? Yes and no. This movie doesn’t take itself too seriously but yet somehow manages to take itself too seriously at the same time. There are a whole lot of preposterous action set pieces, and a lot of this movie is just entertainingly stupid (and at times its just flat out stupid). At the same time there is a constant feeling of self importance throughout the movie. movie constantly feels arrogant with its writing and style. It feels pretentious, and if you ever want to make an entertaining dumb action flick, you can’t make it pretentious. Commando, Broken Arrow and even the original xXx understood this. The way this movie ends feels like its trying to set up a sequel and its just completely embarrassing after actually watching this movie. For the most part however, it is enjoyable. To this movie’s credit, there was a character reveal that I surprisingly liked.

The acting isn’t very good. Vin Diesel plays Vin Diesel again, he’s pretty much like in the first film. However he seems even more of a jackass this time around. It doesn’t help that Xander is constantly being praised by everyone, there are even literally moments where a bunch of random unnamed women just fawn all over Vin Diesel’s body and find him hot, I’m surprised Diesel didn’t have any writing involvement. Xander’s ‘team’ are a bunch of stereotypical douchebags, none of them are particularly likable, some of them end up being annoying. If there is a particularly character that’s sounds out as being annoying amongst all the rest, its Nina Dobrev’s character. There is a particularly random moment with her and a gun in the third act which made me question why I was watching this movie in the first place. Toni Collette looks like she hated being there, and I can’t really blame her. The only one who makes a real impression is Donnie Yen, he was also really good in his action sequences.

The action scenes were entertaining and the stunts look well choreographed but the editing really hurt the final product. There are so many times in the fight scenes where the editing would be quick cutting unnecessarily, its not Taken 3 levels of editing but its still pretty annoying. The style was also pretty obnoxious, as I said it constantly had some arrogant feeling to it and with its direction it constantly feels like it. When each character is introduced, they have some Suicide Squad esque character introduction. The effects were never that good in the xXx movies but you’d at least hope that they would’ve improved, here the visual effects are quite simply horrendous, there are some green screen that is terrible, especially one absolutely laughable moment in the third act.

As you already knew, xXx 3 is not a good movie but it does have some entertainment value, especially with how over the top it is. However there are some issues with the action and the movie overall has this obnoxious arrogance to it that it can get quite annoying. If you liked the original xXx movie or like over the top stupid action flicks, you might enjoy this. Although it lacks some of the ingredients needed for ‘the perfect stupid action flick’, if you just want to watch a stupid movie, this is definitely your film.